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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Russia's Foreign and Security Policy (PLIT10135)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 marked a turning point in Russia's foreign policy. The war - now in its second year - ruptured Moscow's relations with European states and the US and exacerbated Russia's reliance on China. The course introduces students to the complexities of Russia's foreign policy, exploring the role of Vladimir Putin against the backdrop of domestic political, economic, and ideational factors. The course will allow students to compare Russia's approaches to different regions of the world, assess whether Russia aspires to an outsized influence on the international stage, and distinguish between traditional military-focused and non-traditional approaches to security. We will ask to what extent the war in Ukraine represents the culmination of Vladimir Putin's foreign policy and look into its implications for Russia's place in world politics and the global economy.
Course description This course examines Russia's international relations with special reference to ideational, political, and economic factors that shape Moscow's engagement with the world. It pays attention to the policy-making process and to specific tools and methods of Russia's foreign and security policy.

The course is divided into three parts. Part one analyses the process of formulating Russia's foreign and security policy, with special reference to the role of Vladimir Putin and the domestic political, economic, and ideational contexts. Part two focuses on the direction of Russia's foreign policy with respect to Russia's immediate neighborhood, the West, China, and the Global South. The third part is dedicated to Russia's war on Ukraine and its implications for its relations with the West and for Russia's role in global governance.

The course allows students to consider whether and how concepts developed in the discipline of International Relations can be used to explain Russia's international relations. Students will also compare how these concepts have been employed in academic literature, media, and policy discourses. The course has a substantial practical orientation. Tutorials will use group work, discussion, and quick-fire practical activities through which students will compare the coverage of major international events by Russian and international media, and identify elements of ideology in policy statements, strategies, and speeches.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who lack the compulsory pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Section for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) An essay (60%)«br /»
A critical policy analysis (30%)«br /»
Tutorial participation (10%)
Feedback Written feedback on critical policy analysis provided before the submission date of the essay.
Students will be encouraged to consult their draft essay plans and will receive formative feedback on these. An extra tutorial session will be dedicated to essay writing strategies.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and explain the most salient issues influencing Russia's international relations.
  2. Present competing claims and make informed judgements about the role and influence of Russia in regional and global politics.
  3. Identify and distinguish between different foreign policy tools, assess and seek explanations for the successes and failures of Russian foreign policy.
  4. Discuss and assess different forms and aims of communication in international politics.
  5. Summarize and assess foreign policy documents (concepts, strategies).
Reading List
Cadier, D. & Light, M. (eds.) (2015) Russia's Foreign Policy: Ideas, Domestic Politics
and External Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Donaldson, R. & Nadkarni, V. (2019) The foreign policy of Russia: changing systems, enduring interests, sixth edition. London: M. E. Sharpe
Tsygankov, A. (2019) Russia's foreign policy: change and continuity in national identity, fifth edition. Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Generic cognitive skills: By the end of the course students should have strengthened their critical analysis and problem-solving skills.
Communication skills: By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in presenting ideas verbally and in writing and conveying information about specialised topics to informed audiences.
Autonomy, accountability and working with others: By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in consensus building and solution finding in a team environment.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Katarzyna Kaczmarska
Tel: (0131 6)51 1740
Course secretaryMiss Karen Leung
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